What We're Readin' and Watchin'

Book and video reviews by the Lucy Robbins Welles Library staff. The public library of Newington, Connecticut.
Website: www.newington.lib.ct.us Phone: 860-665-8700

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Light From Heaven (Sound Recording)

Title: Light From Heaven
Author: Jan Karon

Ah to escape to Meadowbrook Farm for a couple of weeks drive time with the wonderful John McDonough to read to me. If only all faith based communities or all communities period were this warm, loving and accepting of each other. The world would be a lovely as Jan Karon's Mitford. A joyful, loving visit with Father Tim and gang as Father Tim opens a long closed mountain church.
Escape to Mitford for a bit.


Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The 26th Man

Title: The 26th Man
Author: Steve Fireovid and Mark Winegardner

Very engaging story of a minor league pitcher's year near the end of his career. Steve Fireovid a High School star pitcher wrote a diary of his year, 1990, with the Indianapolis Indians. He was in his 30s and deciding whether or not to continue his career as a minor league pitcher.

I became so involved in his story that I contacted his co-author Mark Winegardner to find out "the rest of the story."

Warning warning warning - major plot details revealed.

From Mark Winegardner:
Fire didn't quit in April, of course; he just got sent down.He played in 1993 in the minors and -- intentionally to pound a stake through the heart of this career -- he went to camp in 1994 as a replacement player with the Marlins. He had friends there, on the field an in the front office, and he played well and had fun, but, unlike such teammates as Kevin Millar, he was too old to outlive the taint of having crossed a picket line that would never benefit him, and when the strike was settled, he hung 'em up.He's working as a stockbroker back home now.

If you read this book do you agree that he was as talented as may major league pitchers and didn't get the right breaks or do you think he was just not good enough? Love to hear your reactions.


Friday, August 25, 2006

Next Stop Wonderland - Video

Title: Next Stop Wonderland
Starring: Hope Davis, Alan Gelfant

Very charming and light romantic comedy. The plus of this movie is it's location. If you love Boston and the surrounding burbs like I do then you will enjoy visiting your favorite city as you watch this movie. Revere Beach never looked so lovely as it did in this movie. I just want to know where were all the bikini clad women with high heels and behives?

Brad Anderson, the director and writer, is a Connecticut boy - born in Madison.

See what Rotten Tomatoes has to say!

- vicky

The Lighthouse by P.D. James

Title: The Lighthouse Sound Recording
Author: P.D. James
Reader: Charles Keating

Dagleish solving the murder from his SARS sick bed was just too much reality to suspend. Fly me to Mars, take me 30 or 30,000 years into the future, introduce me to aliens even show me a happy marriage. :-) All of these I can believe but please don't ask me to believe Dagliesh fighting for his life was more capable of solving the crime than his two subordinates. Does he have such an ego he can't let them shine just once? I was disappointed that Kate and Benton were not allowed to solve this one themselves.

James does a good job setting the scene and capturing the place. Her characters are multidimensional all though sometimes a little too transparent.

I think she's done a better in her previous work.


Monday, August 21, 2006

Stop Walking on Eggshells

Title: Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder
Author: Paul Mason, Randi Kreger

This book has changed my internal life and my external life. A family member has BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and the psychiatrist in charge of the case recommended this book. This book is about letting go of the idea that you can fix the person you love. This book is about setting limits to the person's behavior to protect yourself mentally and physically. This book is about stepping back and not taking the person's accusations and hurtful remarks, personally. After reading Stop Walking on Eggshells I no longer felt guilty when I had to say no to the person in my life to protect my mental health, or my finances. I have stopped bailing the person out and letting the person experience the consequences of her/his actions. And I understand the person behavior much better now.

I would recommend this book to anyone who has a family member or loved one that suffers from BPD. I would also recommend this book to anyone with someone in their life who has a recurring problem.


Saturday, August 19, 2006


Title: It Happens Every Spring

Quirky baseball, sci fi and romance movie. Poor professor falls in love with the deans daughter. Won't marry her until he can 'support her in the manner she's been accustomed to'. His experiment to make wood repel termites fails but a baseball lands in the solution and then the baseball repels wood! We can guess what happens but it's still a fun baseball movie!


Friday, August 18, 2006

Life of Pi

Title: Life of Pi
Author: Yann Martel

This book was different that any other title I usually read. I decided to read this because it is being read in book groups, and lots of our patrons have reserved this.

It is the fantastic story of young Pi Patel, adrift on the Pacific Ocean, with his only companion a Bengal tiger named Richard Parker (the tiger has 'taken care of' any other survivors on the lifeboat).

Ti and Richard endure many hardships together on their journey. The story is touching, funny, fantastic, and truly a pleasure to read. Martel's images of Pi's thirst, hunger, and true suffering are vivid.

Was Pi's tale true? Readers will have the pleasure of finding out.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Killer Instinct

Title: Killer Instinct
Author: Joseph Finder

This is by far the best book I read this summer! Well, it doesn't take much to beat Barron's How to Prepare for the GRE, which I read cover to cover 3 times this summer. Seriously, I enjoyed Finder's Killer Instinct. In fact, I'd give this book 4 stars out of 5. It starts off a little slow, but as the plot develops the suspense grows!

Jason Steadman is a salesman until Kurt, a new friend and an ex–Special Forces soldier, helps him climb the corporate ladder. As Jason gets promoted, mysterious accidents begin happening. Suddenly Jason finds himself in a situation spiraling out of control. The result is an engrossing, suspenseful story that takes place in a business setting.

If you enjoy business thrillers, be sure to check out Finder's Paranoia too!

Sue S.

Monday, August 14, 2006

In a Sunburned Country

Title: In a Sunburned Country
Author: Bill Bryson

Go to Australia. Don't go to Australia. Bill Bryson alternately flamed my desire to see this interesting and diverse country/continent and then quickly threw buckets of water on it. His description of the warm and friendly people, the diverse landscape and the interesting sights made we want to pack my bag for a year and go to Australia. Then in the next sentence he dashes all my dreams and describes some unbearably poisonous creature. eewww!

As always Bryson is entertaining, funny and finds the most unusual places on his travels. Sit down with this great book and visit Australia at least you'll avoid the box jellyfish!


Thursday, August 10, 2006

World Away

Title: World Away
Author: Stewart O'Nan

This is a good summer read.

Drop in on the Langers for a summer during the second world war. Anne, James and and their younger son Jay spend the summer at James' father's home on the shore. James' father is dying. Their older son Rennie has gone to war. Rennie's new bride, Dorothy, is pregnant and living on the other side of the country in California. You will step into their lives at the beginning of the summer on the ride to the beach house and leave them on the drive back home. O'Nan makes you feel as if you are dropped into the middle of their lives like a summer visitor. He gives you enough backstory to understand the characters but leaves some mystery, as if you were a visitor and didn't know all the family history. I love his "slice of life" novels.

As always his writing is compassionate and understanding. Dorothy ponders about her mother that "Their love was an argument, she thought, that she would always lose." With less than 15 words O'Nan brings the fears, hopes, battles and regrets of the mother daughter relationship to the reader's mind. My first thought was "That's me and my mother" . My second, even more fearful, thought was "I hope my daughters don't feel that way about me!"
O'Nan again presents the idea that we cannot understand what happens to a person when he goes to war. His vivid descriptions of war only serve to make me feel that I cannot comprehend going through that and remaining sane. It's interesting too that Rennie is a medic and Larry in Names of the Dead is also a medic. Any thoughts why he does that?

I think you will enjoy this book. It's full of life and rich emotions.

Nancy Pearl in Library Journal, 03630277, 7/1/2005, Vol. 130, Issue 12 says of A World Away -
Displaying a keen sense of time and place depicts an eventful and sad summer in the lives of one American family set against the backdrop of World War II. Former high school teacher James Langer returns to his boyhood home in the Hamptons with his wife, Anne, to care for James's dying father. Their oldest son, Rennie, is in the medical corps aboard ship off the coast of Alaska. Struggling with the fallout from an affair James had with a student, Anne alternates caring for her father-in-law with working at the nearby military hospital, while James is employed at the Grumman plant.

Read Library Journal's review - 05/01/98

NYT Book Review reminded me how this book took me back to the 1943 and war time America with movie plots and the jar of grease in the fridge. The details that set the book in the time period show O'Nan's extensive research.


Pretty Birds

Title: Pretty Birds
Author: Scott Simon read by Christina Moore

What has war done to our world? If you have read "The Kite Runner" you'll remember one of the hardest things to read about was how much Afghanistan changed because of the war. "Pretty Birds" by NPR's Scott Simon not only tells of the decline of Sarajevo due to the Bosnian Serbian civil war but also of the physical, mental and emotional decline of the people. I listened to this on my commute to work and would often sit in the parking lot to hear just a little bit more. The story is told from a teenage girls perspective. She was an elite basketball player in her high school; well known in all of Sarajevo. I found it heart breaking what she went through and what she became as a result of the war.

Listen to Scott Simon talk about his book on NPR

I listened to this book on my commute. The reader was wonderful.


Rainbows End

Title: Rainbows End
Author: Vernor Vinge

Your thoughts: READ THIS BOOK! It's fantastic. I loved the story but most of all I loved the imagination of the future the author predicts. It's scary. boy I am not sure i would want to be plugged in all the time but it's also interesting how collaboration has increased. The collaborative world he imagines encourages people to share information and to help each other solve problems. at MPOW i wear a walkie talkie and a headset. at anytime i can call on my co-workers for assistance locating a book or if we need more help at the info desk.

Read what Vernor Vinge thinks about privacy

Trends the book explores.

Giving up privacy for accessUniversal/Continuous accessWearable computersBooks vs. Electronic accessWarSecurity vs. freedom and/or privacy
People said Arthur C Clark was crazy to predict a universal network of information connected through our televisions!

READ this book it might be your future!

See Superpatron's review of this book at his blog.